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Author Topic:   One Big frog
Posts: 3100
Joined: 08-11-2004
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Message 1 of 2 (456585)
02-18-2008 11:03 PM

In Madagascar, they found the fossil of a frog the size of a bowling ball. What is interesting is that it seems to be related to the South American frogs, and not the African frogs. This challenges all sorts of geological assumptions



WASHINGTON (AP) -- A frog the size of a bowling ball, with heavy armor and teeth, lived among dinosaurs millions of years ago -- intimidating enough that scientists who unearthed its fossils dubbed the beast Beelzebufo, or Devil Toad.

But its size -- 10 pounds and 16 inches long -- isn't the only curiosity. Researchers discovered the creature's bones in Madagascar. Yet it seems to be a close relative of normal-sized frogs who today live half a world away in South America, challenging assumptions about ancient geography.

The discovery, led by paleontologist David Krause at New York's Stony Brook University, was published Monday by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"This frog, if it has the same habits as its living relatives in South America, was quite voracious," Krause said. "It's even conceivable that it could have taken down some hatchling dinosaurs."

Krause began finding fragments of abnormally large frog bones in Madagascar, off the coast of Africa, in 1993. They dated back to the late Cretaceous period, roughly 70 million years ago, in an area where Krause also was finding dinosaur and crocodile fossils. But only recently did Krause's team assemble enough frog bones to piece together what the creature would have looked like, and weighed.

The largest living frog, the Goliath frog of West Africa, can reach 7 pounds. But Krause teamed with fossil frog experts from University College London to determine that Beelzebufo isn't related to other African frogs

It seems to be a relative of South American horned frogs, known scientifically as Ceratophrys. Popular as pets, they're sometimes called pacman frogs for their huge mouths.

Like those modern frogs, Beelzebufo had a wide mouth and powerful jaws, plus teeth. Skull bones were extremely thick, with ridges and grooves characteristic of some type of armor or protective shield.

The name comes from the Greek word for devil, Beelzebub, and Latin for toad, bufo (pronounced boo-foe).

The family link raises a paleontology puzzle: Standard theory for how the continents drifted apart shows what is now Madagascar would have been long separated by ocean from South America during Beelzebufo's time. And frogs can't survive long in saltwater, Krause noted.

He contends the giant frog provides evidence for competing theories that some bridge still connected the land masses that late in time, perhaps via an Antarctica that was much warmer than today.

Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Brad McFall, posted 02-19-2008 6:08 PM ramoss has not yet responded

Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 3111 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001

Message 2 of 2 (456720)
02-19-2008 6:08 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by ramoss
02-18-2008 11:03 PM

no big node
This kind of data is precisely what sharpens panbiogeography'steeth.
A Modern perspective of an such alternative history is presented in Biogeografía 2
It is odd that making sense of links between Madagascar and South America should still be rare. Part of the problem comes from the editing on getting the view, such, into the literature.

John Grehan had this to say

(about the most cited paper of Croizat)
I am pleased to announce that a transcribed copy of Croizat’s manuscript for the paper “On the ‘Center of Origin’”, previous to the modified version co-authored by Gary Nelson and Donn Rosen, has now been posted on the web for general access.

Many years ago Michael Heads and I submitted the ms to Systematic Zoology for publication to allow this kind of comparison (in the days before the web) but it was rejected by the editor. The submission was revived and as one of the reviewers Gary Nelson did not object to publication. So with those caveats in mind the ms can be accessed directly at http://www.sciencebuff.org/ftp_only/croizat1974ms.pdf or via the link at http://www.sciencebuff.org/biogeography_and_evolutionary_biology.php

Videos on Croizat have been created in South America.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by ramoss, posted 02-18-2008 11:03 PM ramoss has not yet responded

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